Biden meets Dutch Prime Minister amid microchips dispute

Netherlands is also considering joining US and Germany in sending Patriot missile systems to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte meet in the Oval Office at the White House. Reuters
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US President Joe Biden met Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday, a day after the Netherlands said it would not immediately agree with new American restrictions on exporting chip-making technology to China.

Mr Biden said he was eager to explore ways to reinforce the supply chain as he received Mr Rutte at the White House.

Mr Biden also thanked Mr Rutte for the Netherlands' continued support for Ukraine, after it pledged another $2.7 billion for the war-torn nation.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, pictured, told US President Joe Biden that the Netherlands is considering sending Patriot missiles to Ukraine. AP

The two leaders are expected to discuss further support to Ukraine, "as well as further co-operation in the fields of defence and security, and strengthening of the bilateral trade relationship”, a Dutch statement read.

The US in October implemented comprehensive measures to hobble China's ability to make its own microchips, and US trade officials said at the time they expected the Netherlands and Japan to respond with similar restrictions.

The Netherlands' largest company is ASML Holding, a key supplier to the semiconductor industry.

Mr Rutte said on Friday that he did not feel pressure from Washington to adopt more restrictions on semiconductor exports to China.

“This is a terrain where we're a world player and we can conduct discussions about it without immediately talking in terms ... of being 'put under pressure'. I don't experience it like that at all," he said.

Mr Biden last year signed the multibillion-dollar Chips and Science Act into law. It focused on boosting semiconductor production and research.

The White House considers the bill to be crucial in countering China and ensuring that the US maintains its competitive edge over Beijing.

The legislation provides $52.7 billion for semiconductor research, development, manufacturing and workplace development.

The State Department's new technology office will be led by deputy special envoy Seth Center.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: January 17, 2023, 6:22 PM